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Powerless Women in Power?

In many democracies, it no longer seems to matter much if a political leader is a man or a woman – or black or white. But, ironically, the empowerment of the previously marginalized is occurring alongside the disempowerment of the nation-states they lead.

NEW YORK – Are women political leaders finally coming into their own? Are they not only winning more elections, but also finally able to campaign and govern with no more – or less – scrutiny, scandal, and mockery than their males peers?

Superficially, it may seem as if we have reached that breakthrough moment at which gender is no longer the most important issue. In the United States, Hillary Clinton is preparing for her second run for the presidency, and Janet Yellen is the first woman Chair of the US Federal Reserve Board – widely regarded as one of the world’s most powerful offices.

Moreover, TV shows that feature women portraying top political leaders are filling America’s airwaves, including “Madame Secretary,” starring the improbably comely Téa Leoni as US Secretary of State, and “Veep,” with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a charming, comical vice president. The central issue in these television programs is not that the main roles are played by women. Character, not gender, drives the narrative.

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